Note: I wrote this treatise only a short month into my NYC residency, disturbed by a particular instance with the incredibly creepy owners of the barbershop next to my apartment. Now, as I approach the one-year mark, I’ve sadly accepted the practice as commonplace. That being said, I still wonder why this mating approach is considered a valid attempt at grabbing a woman’s attention. To me, yelling ‘HEY BABY’ from your car window has less valor than the standard ‘Did it hurt? When you fell from Heaven?’ fodder. Now, if by some miracle I fall in love with and marry a man who whistles at me on Lexington, I will fully admit and accept defeat. For some reason, though, I just don’t think that’s in the cards.
I have a very important and scientific survey I would like to conduct. This hard-hitting and groundbreaking piece of journalism can only be completed with your help.
How many of you have felt personally victimized by cat calling? How many readers have fallen prey to wolf-whistling and the full-body checkout? Have any ladies been privy to unrequited winks and phone number requests?
New York City is unlike anywhere else in the world, in more ways than one. Often, it gets touted for parks and concerts, landmarks and celebrities, food and shopping. I’d like to recognize another area where NYC comes out on top. The highest percentage of daily pickup attempts on women as they walk to work. Congratulations, New York! You did it! World’s creepiest men! Way to go you guys!
Now by no means do I mean to insinuate that every male in New York commits this injustice. And I’m not claiming that women are innocent (I, myself, have been known to stare at an attractive male if he crosses my path). What I want to know is, that why, in this city, do certain gentleman feel the way to find a suitable lady friend is by screaming “hey sexy” across four lanes of traffic. I seriously doubt this is a fool-proof method. Do these guys think that we’re just going to stop in our tracks, and be totally game for whatever they’re offering?
I’ve only lived in the city for about a month now, so my encounters are likely more limited than some. But nonetheless, please enjoy some things that real, live men have yelled at me as I walk to work:
- “Ay, sexy mami” – Construction worker on 78th and Lexington
- “She’s a cute little thing” – One middle-aged man to another, as they walked past me on 86th and Third
- “Nice ass, baby” – Man who looked very similar to Riff Raff, that I was unfortunately pressed up against on the 6 train one morning
- “Very nice looking, very nice. You live here?” – Man, old enough to be my grandfather, standing outside of the barbershop right next to my apartment building
- “Sexy girl, you have a boyfriend?” – Teenage boy as I stood waiting for the 6th train at 77th and Lexington
And, my favorite thus far:
- “I would make a baby with you, sweet thang” – Homeless man with a sign that said Please, need money for wife and daughter on 51st and Lexington
Now obviously, I have no problem with free speech. And as someone who looks absolutely nothing like Heidi Klum, Behati Prinsloo or Miranda Kerr, I do appreciate some positive reinforcement. But, that being said, when I’m trying to enjoy my Starbucks and make it to the office on time, I don’t want to be worrying about some homeless man trying to impregnate me. I’m hoping, that maybe, if I can get a real handle on the motivation behind such an approach, I’ll be more sympathetic to the men behind the callouts. Because honestly, at this point, I’d react better to even the hopeless “I don’t have a library card, but would you mind if I check you out?”